Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review & Excerpt: IMPERIAL STOUT by Layla Reyne (Trouble Brewing #1)

 Imperial Stout 
by Layla Reyne

Series: Trouble Brewing #1

Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): Ebook/Audio – July 23, 2018; Print – July 31, 2019
Length (Print & Ebook): 272 pages
Subgenre: M/M Romantic Suspense

Purchase Links:


Layla Reyne spins off from her pulse-pounding Agents Irish and Whiskey books with Imperial Stout, the first installment in the Trouble Brewing series

It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular. 

Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.


Nic was silent a long minute, the building tension heavy in the small space. “This is why you’re not supposed to get involved with colleagues.”

Finally, an opening. Cam closed the distance between them, winding his arms around Nic and hugging him from behind. Body warm, despite the cool night, Cam wanted to get even closer to it. They might both get burned, but he was done watching the fire from a distance, holding himself back from the heat.

“Technically, we’re not,” he said.

“You have an answer for everything, don’t you?”

“If it wins the argument with you, yes.”

Nic chuckled, hanging his head, and Cam skirted his nose and lips along the nape of his neck. Nic’s quiet laughter died on a breathy gasp.

Carra's Review

Layla Reyne has been an auto-buy author for me ever since I read Single Malt with her always well-written books.  Imperial Stout just reinforces that decision—well thought out plot, intriguing storyline with oodles of suspense, and just enough romance…or at least attraction and heat…to get things started between Nic and Cam.  

The romance is not the center of the story—the suspense of the case takes the main stage here with plenty of complications and action to keep things hopping.  There’s also more than one story arc—you have the case that both Nic and Cam are working on, but there’s also an interesting subplot that gets brought to the forefront a few times involving Nic’s father that has a very unwelcome impact on Nic’s life.  That impact comes at some rather inopportune times when it comes to their case as well.

The relationship between Nic and Cam develops slowly since it has to take a backseat to their case.  But that doesn’t mean their feelings don’t effect the things they do or decisions they make—adding a bit more complication than they were expecting, and a situation Cam was trying to avoid.  When things ramp up between them though, things do get very hot very fast!  And while I would have liked to have seen more between them, it wouldn’t have worked in the framework of this book…but since I know there’s more to come in the series, I’m looking forward to seeing more of their relationship development as the series progresses.

This story is packed with suspense, and at times you don’t know with some characters which side they are really on.  That ever-present uncertainty along with the action, great character interactions, and getting several favorite characters from the Irish & Whiskey series as supporting characters here all had me glued to this book—I read it in a single sitting.

Imperial Stout was a 4.5-star read for me, and I’d highly recommend it to fans of M/M romantic suspense.  While you can read this as a standalone, I would personally recommend reading the Agents Irish & Whiskey series first for background on the characters from that series who play a part in this book (don’t worry—you’ll love it).  Now I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see what’s going to happen next with Nic’s father’s issues, but there’s also the promise of more regarding Cam’s past as well!  Note that this book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

About the Author

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs. Layla is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. She was a 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.

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